U.S. Silica (SLCA) Lowered to Strong Sell at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of U.S. Silica (NYSE:SLCA) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Earnings estimates for U.S. Silica for the third quarter and the full year have been going down lately. U.S. Silica is seeing significant cash outflows as reflected by sizable capital spending, which will hurt its ability to generate free cash flows. Its high debt level is another concern. The company also sees lower-than-expected growth in sand volumes in the third quarter along with lower Northern White proppant pricing. It has also underperformed the industry it belongs to over the past three months.”

A number of other brokerages also recently weighed in on SLCA. Seaport Global Securities reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $46.00 target price on shares of U.S. Silica in a research note on Thursday, August 2nd. Wells Fargo & Co started coverage on shares of U.S. Silica in a research note on Saturday, September 15th. They issued a buy rating and a $24.00 target price for the company. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $26.00 target price on shares of U.S. Silica and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 2nd. Guggenheim downgraded shares of U.S. Silica from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Friday, July 6th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus dropped their target price on shares of U.S. Silica from $26.00 to $24.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $32.74.

Shares of NYSE SLCA traded up $0.15 during trading on Friday, reaching $18.38. The company had a trading volume of 1,987,828 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,293,245. U.S. Silica has a 52 week low of $17.91 and a 52 week high of $38.70. The company has a market cap of $1.46 billion, a PE ratio of 12.25 and a beta of 2.16. The company has a current ratio of 2.88, a quick ratio of 2.27 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.99.

U.S. Silica (NYSE:SLCA) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, July 31st. The mining company reported $0.64 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.67 by ($0.03). U.S. Silica had a return on equity of 13.14% and a net margin of 10.79%. The company had revenue of $427.40 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $455.35 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.38 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 47.1% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that U.S. Silica will post 2.58 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, October 3rd. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 14th were given a dividend of $0.0625 per share. This represents a $0.25 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.36%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 13th. U.S. Silica’s dividend payout ratio is 16.67%.

In other news, EVP Bradford B. Casper acquired 1,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 28th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $18.96 per share, for a total transaction of $28,440.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the executive vice president now owns 18,552 shares in the company, valued at $351,745.92. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Bryan Adair Shinn acquired 2,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 27th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $18.45 per share, with a total value of $40,590.00. Following the acquisition, the chief executive officer now owns 126,243 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,329,183.35. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have bought 9,614 shares of company stock valued at $178,565. 1.40% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Macquarie Group Ltd. grew its holdings in U.S. Silica by 14.8% during the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 933,066 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $23,970,000 after purchasing an additional 120,296 shares during the period. Royal Bank of Canada grew its holdings in U.S. Silica by 17.0% during the first quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 99,414 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $2,537,000 after purchasing an additional 14,476 shares during the period. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. grew its holdings in U.S. Silica by 7.3% during the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 516,202 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $13,262,000 after purchasing an additional 35,120 shares during the period. Global Alpha Capital Management Ltd. grew its holdings in U.S. Silica by 33.1% during the second quarter. Global Alpha Capital Management Ltd. now owns 243,200 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $6,248,000 after purchasing an additional 60,500 shares during the period. Finally, Private Advisor Group LLC acquired a new position in U.S. Silica during the second quarter valued at approximately $200,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 99.21% of the company’s stock.

About U.S. Silica

U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc produces and sells commercial silica in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Oil & Gas Proppants and Industrial & Specialty Products. It offers whole grain commercial silica products to be used as fracturing sand in connection with oil and natural gas recovery; and resin coated proppants, as well as sells its whole grain silica products in various size distributions, grain shapes, and chemical purity levels for manufacturing glass products.

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